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Book Sales Down Since Last Year

Book sales down compared to last June

Although total unit print book sales are only down 1% compared to last June (outlets reported to NPD BookScan). A 4% drop in adult fiction was a main factor of the decline. The 4 % drop exactly matched the sales drop of the 100 bestselling titles in adult fiction. #1 was again The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson, which sold more than 60,000 copies. The small uptick in adult and juvenile nonfiction segments was not enough to make up the over all loss in the print sector.

Elin Hilderbrand’s newest book, The Perfect Couple, placed second on the category list, selling almost 33,000 copies. A new book finally took the #1 spot on the adult nonfiction charts, leading to a 2% increase in unit sales in the category. The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia sold more than 24,000 in its first week, beating out Joanna Gaines’s Magnolia Table.

Unit sales of print books rose 4% in the juvenile nonfiction category over 2017. #1 on the list was Everything You Need to Know to Ace Math in One Big Fat Notebook, which sold more than 10,000 copies in the week.

Unit Sales of Print Books by Channel (in thousands)

Jun. 25, 2017 Jun. 24, 2018 Chge Week Chge YTD
Total 12,055 11,935 -1% 2%
Retail & Club 10,565 10,490 -1% 3%
Mass Merch./Others 1,490 1,446 -3% -0.3%

Unit Sales of Print Books by Category (in thousands)

Jun. 25, 2017 Jun. 24, 2018 Chge Week Chge YTD
Adult Nonfiction 4,792 4,865 2% 4%
Adult Fiction 2,793 2,679 -4% -4%
Juvenile Nonfiction 1,117 1,158 4% 7%
Juvenile Fiction 3,057 2,958 -3% 3%

Unit Sales of Print Books by Format (in thousands)

Jun. 25, 2017 Jun. 24, 2018 Chge Week Chge YTD
Hardcover 3,034 3,091 2% 6%
Trade Paperback 7,184 7,028 -2% -0.2%
Mass Market Paperback 1,034 1,050 1% -3%
Board Books 501 495 -1% 10%
Audio 69 40 -42% -27%
Source: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/77419-more-fiction-softness-leads-to-dip-in-units-in-late-june.html
Need help self publishing your manuscript? JourStarr Self Publishing Services can help get it to the finish line. We offer custom interior print designs, cover designs, custom typography and much more to the self publishing community.

What Type Of Editing Do I Need?



Once you have finished your manuscript you are going to want to have a professional editor take a look at it before you take it much further. I have seen many new authors posting in the Facebook writing groups asking what type of editing do I need or what are the differences between the different types of editing? I would like to explain it to everyone so there is no confusion.


The Four Main Types of Editing.

Substantive (developmental) editing.

This is the most intensive type of editing. Your editor will review your manuscript as a whole, evaluating structure, organization, coherence, and logical consistency. This means your editor may suggest rewriting parts or reorganizing the structure of your plot. Changing, adding or dropping characters. Making sure you have given enough information early enough so the reader can understand what is going on later in the story. The editor will also make sure nothing conflicts with other facts in the story such as names or dates and times of when events happened.  Grammar and spelling are not scrutinized much, but that won’t stop many good editors from pointing out common misspellings or punctuation.

Copy editing.

This type of editing will not evaluate the developmental structure of your plot like a substantive edit will but it will track and note discrepancies. Copy editing looks for grammar, spelling, style, repetition, word usage, and jargon.


Proofreading is the lightest form of editing. Only minor errors are corrected. Minor errors usually include:

  • grammar and style (e.g., verb tense, units such as ml, use of numerals and words such as “5” or “five”)
  • capitalization, punctuation (e.g., the use of commas, semicolons, colons, periods, dashes, apostrophes)
  • spelling and word usage (e.g., to/too, affect/effect)


Differences Between Line and Copy Editing

Ok so also see line editing mentioned, What is that?

Heres where there is some overlap. It really depends on the editor some consider a line edit to be an expanded form of proofreading and copy editing a slimmed down version of a substantive edit. Let me try to clear this up.

Line Editing.

A line edit focuses on writing style, content, and language on a line or paragraph level. The purpose of a line is not to comb through your work for errors but to evaluate the way you use language to convey the story to the reader. Is the language clear, fluid and pleasurable to read?

An editor may draw your attention to:

  • Run-on sentences.
  • Words or sentences that are extraneous or overused.
  • Redundancies from repeating the same information in different ways.
  • Dialogue or paragraphs that can be tightened.
  • Scenes where the action is confusing or the author’s meaning is unclear due to bad transitions.
  • Passages that don’t read well due to bland language use.
  • Tonal shifts and unnatural phrasing.
  • Confusing narrative digressions.
  • Changes that can be made to improve the pacing of a passage.
  • The need for certain words or phrases that may clarify or enhance your meaning.


Copy Editing.

  • Corrects spelling, grammar, punctuation, and syntax
  • Ensures consistency in spelling, hyphenation, numerals, fonts, and capitalization
  • Flags ambiguous or factually incorrect statements (especially important for non-fiction)
  • Tracks macro concerns like internal consistency.

An example of internal consistency:  Say early on in the book a character dies. It wouldn’t make much sense if suddenly that same character was at a party that happened after his or her death. Or at one point you describe someone’s eyes as “sparkling blue” then on page 256 they are “deep brown like a good cup of coffee”.

“There is one other reason that line editing and copyediting aren’t the same job: copyediting should always come after line edit, never at the same time or before. The page-by-page, sentence-by-sentence content of your manuscript should be completely finalized before being fine-tuned on the level of a copyedit. Because what is the point of spending time (and money) proofreading portions of an early draft that might be significantly altered, or even completely cut, by the time the final draft rolls around?”  – nybookeditors.com


I understand the confusion a lot of new authors are having. Trust me I have been confused about it as well. I still to this have to go back and check the difference sometimes. Here’s the thing I can’t tell you that your plot is a mess and you need a substantive edit or if you can get away with just a proofread and a file copy edit without reading the manuscript. But I will tell unless your story is very short or you are a very experienced writer a single round of editing is usually not enough. I have paid thousands for a general edit expecting a perfect final copy, boy was I wrong. As a new author, you have to know what you are paying for when you hire an editor. Make sure it is clear what the editor will be looking for and what they will or will not fix.

I hope this helps everyone understand the editing process a little better, there are many more examples that can be found doing a search “editing examples” showing what was changed after different types of editors have reviewed the text.

As always good luck and happy writing!


JourStarr Quality Publications does not offer editing services to self-publishers. We do however offer many other services to the self-publishing community. Visit JourStarr Self Publishing Services for more information.


Online Writers Camp – Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp NanNoWriMo

Do You Have What It Takes To Attend Camp NaNoWriMo?


So your probably saying to yourself “What the hell is NaNoWriMo?”. To be specific it stands for National Novel Writing Month.

“National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. 

On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.” 


But NaNoWriMo is so much more than just a writing competition in November each year! They also are a 501C non-profit “that believes your story matters.”  Here is their mission statement from their website:

“Our Mission Statement

National Novel Writing Month believes in the transformational power of creativity. We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds—on and off the page.”

Source: https://nanowrimo.org/about

So what is this Camp I’m talking about, well each year in April and July NaNoWriMo holds a virtual writing retreat online for writers of all ages. They call it ” An idyllic writers retreat, smack-dab in the middle of your crazy life”. Here is an excerpt from campnanowrimo.org

Camp NaNoWriMo is a virtual writer’s retreat, designed for maximum flexibility and creativity. 

We have Camp sessions in both April and July, and we welcome word-count goals between 30 and 1,000,000. In addition, writers can tackle any project they’d like, including new novel drafts, revision, poetry, scripts, and short stories.

Do you accept the challenge?  NaNoWriMo has dared you to join the official Camp NaNoWriMo July 2018 challenge!

Visit https://campnanowrimo.org  to sign up and attend the virtual writing summer camp!

‘JourStarr Quality Publication is an official supporter and volunteer of NaNoWriMo. Inspiring others to write and create amazing stories is what it’s all about. Camp NaNoWriMo starts July 1st. Ready! Set! Write!

Happy Writing!


Looking to self-publish but need some help? ‘JourStarr can help! We offer a wide range of design, consulting and publishing services at ‘JourStarr Self Publishing

What Kind of Book Should I Write?

what kind of book should I write

What Kind of Book Should I Write?

This is a question a lot of new authors pose to themselves sometime early in their writing career. Here’s the thing, I can tell you what genres sell the best and try to forecast what the upcoming trends that are soon to be coming up on the horizon. But if you are a novice writer trying to force a story into one of these categories you will most likely fail!

Best selling book genres of 2018.

Children’s Fiction – By far children’s books outsell their adult counterparts 3-1 this has been a trend that is not likely to change anytime soon

Romance/Erotica –  These books have always been high on the charts due to a high percentage of readers in the demographic, Women

Mystery/Crime/Thriller – Books in these categories sell well due to its wide demographic. They can appeal to men and women alike. Although be careful there is a lot of competition in these categories. Your book needs to stand out if it is going to be a success.

There are more that I could list, but there is a sharp drop after mystery/thriller. Horror is only posting up numbers one-tenth the amount of the other more popular genres. Last but not least is Teen Fiction while it has been close in sales to horror it has sharply risen following major book to movie series such as The Twilight Saga. More teens than ever have been picking up books or listening to them through such services as audible.

Write what you write!

I know that may sound stupid, but what I mean by that is don’t try to force your stories into a particular genre. By all means, if you write romance, write the best tear-jerking, heart-wrenching, tingly-feeling romance you can write! Just don’t make the mistake that many do and try to write something you have no familiarity with. Know your market, know the specific type of reader your story will appeal too, know the competition.

I know your saying but I’m a writer, not a book salesman or marketer. That needs to change if you want to be a successful author. Write first, but knowing your audience and competition is the best advice I can give aspiring writers.

As always, Good Luck and Happy Writing!


New to Self Publishing? Let ‘JourStarr Quality Publications help you publish your book! We offer interior book designing, premade book covers, and more at on our new Self Publishing Services page.

10 Reasons Why Your Book Isn’t Selling

Reasons Why Your Book Isn't Selling

10 Reasons Why Your Book Isn’t Selling


So you have finished your book, you have completed your interior design, the cover and back matter. You have done some marketing but you have only sold a handful of books, what gives? What will if anything help sell your books? If this is your first book or even your first self-published book, you have probably made some mistakes along the way. Don’t worry all is not lost. Most of your problems can be fixed with a little work. I will sort out the easiest to fix and most important at the top of the list. Let’s get started!

  1. Your Cover. Is it boring, off target or doesn’t fit your genre? You know that old saying don’t judge a book by its cover. Unfortunately, that is very true books are judged by their covers. It can make or break your book. If you can spare the money have a professional design a cover for you. This is very important. Make a good first impression on your readers.
  2. Pricing. Is your 185-page novel priced at 30 dollars. Sometimes we rationalize the price due to the amount of work we put into the book. While you may deserve 30 dollars per book most readers are not going to pay that price, would you? Research other books in your category, compare length and price.
  3. Marketing. You did market your book, didn’t you? I know this can seem like a bottomless pit you just throw money down. But if you expect your book to sell you must invest a little in marketing. Try a few different techniques spend a little, and then double down on what works. Don’t forget Social Media. This can drive hundreds or even thousands of sales for little more than your time sharing your posts.
  4. Available in the Correct Format. Today’s readers have a choice of formats print, ebook, and audio. Make sure your book is available in every format.
  5. You expected to sell more books more quickly than what is realistic. Be patient. If you are unknown it will take time before you work will get any recognition.
  6. You forgot to research Keywords and CategoriesMetadata in all its forms has become more and more important to make your books visible online.
  7. Writing where there’s no Market. It’s wise to see what other similar books are in the marketplace. If there are very few or no books even close to the one being written, it could signal that no market exists for it. The book may be too unique to attract sales.
  8. You hired an Editor, didn’t YOU? This is one step you cannot scrimp on. You need a professional editor, this will give your book the polished look it needs.
  9. Writing without an Author Platform. If authors don’t have a following on email, blogs, social media, and mass media eager to read what they write—usually referred to as an author platform—sales will be slow or nonexistent since a following must be built after the fact. Create the market, then create a book for it.
  10. Is the book just BAD? I’ve saved the worst possibility for last. Many self-published books are just bad. Sometimes I’m just embarrassed for the author! This is the worst scenario. There is not much you can do at this point. All you can really do is go back to the drawing board.

I hope this helps new authors understand why their books are not selling. It’s too bad there isn’t a one size fits all fix. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater if your book isn’t selling, Unless you have been told you need to rewrite by more than a few. Don’t take their criticism negatively they are really just trying to help! Good luck and Happy Writing!

Don’t forget to check out our New Authors Writing Guide. Also, JourStarr has a new Self-Publishing Services page, Offering interior book design, ebook formatting, book covers and much more.

Sources: https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2018/03/15-reasons-book-isnt-selling/


Finding it hard to be CREATIVE?

Creativity, I lost mine. Can I have yours?

I haven’t posted anything yet this week, but to be honest, I have been so busy working on our new self-publishing services I just haven’t had the time. Not to mention I have lost 2 computers to catastrophic failures in the past 10 days. It was their time they both had far outlived their respective lifespans. At least both hard drives are still good and the desktop must have matched my other spare desktop close enough all I had to do was slap the hard drive in and to my astonishment Windows 10 booted right up. Albeit with no sound but that’s another story for another time and place! Enough with my bad luck back to what I was saying. Um… Right… Creativity that’s right.

Music, thank god for music. All I have to do is stick my headphones in and it seems like the ideas start flowing. At least with my more visual artistic side if you can say I have one. But writing is a different story, It seems like my thought processes are much deeper when it comes to writing. I can’t have any distractions or I lose my train of thought!  That is an impossible feat with a house full of teenagers. Unless of course, it’s 2 AM then I only have to yell at one to turn his Xbox down. Ah…the joys of parenting. I would love to hear from my fellow artists and writers out there. Do you have your sanctuary somewhere you run off to when you are putting that keyboard time in?  Or could the hurricane of today’s life just swirl around you and your screen, but you wouldn’t know any different?

Wish me luck! As I dive back into photoshop.

Top 10 Writing Tips From Authors

Writing Tips From Authors

For new writers, these tips can be essential to growing and developing your writing. I have compiled a list of my top 10 writing tips from published authors.

  1. “Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.”  Zadie Smith
  2. “Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea forever.” – Will Self
  3. “The first draft of everything is shit.” – Ernest Hemingway
  4. “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”   George Orwell
  5.  “Read it aloud to yourself because that’s the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are OK (prose rhythms are too complex and subtle to be thought out—they can be got right only by ear).”  Diana Athill
  6.  “In the planning stage of a book, don’t plan the ending. It has to be earned by all that will go before it.”  Rose Tremain
  7. “Be your own editor/critic. Sympathetic but merciless!” – Joyce Carol Oates
  8. “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time — or the tools — to write. Simple as that.” – Stephen King
  9. “Prose is architecture, not interior decoration”. – Ernest Hemingway
  10. “Don’t take anyone’s writing advice too seriously.” – Lev Grossman  

The biggest thing to remember you will try and fail many times before your first major hit. Even then those stories were not failures after all. You were just developing your inner writer. The greats all got rejection letters and harsh criticism in their careers just imagine if they would have stopped writing because a few people didn’t like a particular story. What great works would humanity of missed out on?

Remember we have a free New Authors Writing Guide available for download

Happy Writing!!!

Where Do You Find Your Inspiration To Write?

As a writer where do you find inspiration (or motivation) to actually sit down and write?

I sat down this morning intending on writing another slam dunk blog post but I’m having a hard time finding the inspiration. Maybe its, because my Pittsburgh Penguins lost (did we really believe a 3-peat was possible?), or that my lawnmower self-destructed halfway through the first grass cut of the season. (I really should post a picture of my lawn it’s actually kind of funny), or maybe because there are a million things that need to be done around here but I just can’t find the motivation to accomplish any of them.

As a writer where do you find inspiration (or motivation) to actually sit down and write? Whether it be from music, checking out some new art or just catching up on today’s news.

I want to hear from everyone let me know down in the comments section where you draw your inspiration from. I compiled a list of ways you can take a jackhammer to your writer’s block if you’re really stuck and somehow your story has lost its way!

Music. This is definitely my favorite way to gather inspiration. Listen to some new music something you wouldn’t normally you will be surprised how quickly the words start flowing.

Movies. Sometimes you’re just trying too hard. Shut your brain off for a while and dive into a new movie. It could be you just need to relax a while.

Magazines, News Articles. If you subscribe to some of your fav’s or you just pick up one while waiting at the dentist’s office find an article that interests you.

Art Galleries, Museums.  Do something different than your everyday routine. Take the time to check out a new exhibit at your local museum.

Exercise. This may be my least favorite but It has its uses (shhhh I know I have put on a couple pounds over the winter). Other than keeping healthy and our butts in our favorite pair of jeans, exercise can really clear the head and somehow wash away the worries of the day.

Freewriting. I have done this and it really does help. Don’t think just write. Wait! you say that’s my problem I can’t! I don’t mean write a story just write about anything, the grass outside your window, the neighbor’s dog that won’t SHUT THE HELL UP! Or maybe the bird that built a nest outside my kitchen window. (BTW all the eggs hatched we now have 4 baby birds) Don’t stop, don’t edit just let the pen flow.

The point is if you think you are stuck in a rut you’re probably right. Inspiration can strike anywhere anytime and sometimes you will realize you may just have to stop looking for it before it slaps you in the face!  Happy Writing!

Self Publishing Top Ten Tips!

Top 10 Self-Publishing and New Author Tips

As a new self-publisher I know you might have thought the bulk of your work was done when you finished writing your book, Right? I’m very sorry to tell you that your work has just begun! You must now switch gears and become the publisher and marketer. Having gone through the process myself and helping others get their work published I have gathered my top ten tips for new self-publishers and new authors.

  1. Examine your competition. It is very important to look at what else is out there in your genre. Put your self in the bookstore per se. When you are looking at your book, what else is on the shelf right by it? Why would you buy your book before you bought any of the other books on the same shelf? This can give you powerful insight into how to sell your book and make it stand out!
  2. A memorable title is key. Once again in the bookstore. Why would you as the reader grab your book first? Your title should command attention and stick with someone. This is your billboard ad to your readers.
  3. You are Your Own Editor. Mistakes happen its human to err but your work should not read as a 10-year-old wrote it. Most readers can forgive a grammar mistake or two but there does come a point when the readability of your work could be hindered by frequent mistakes. It will always be in your best interests to hire a professional editor. If you are unable to afford such an expense you should be willing to allow as many of your friends and family to read your final drafts to help catch mistakes.
  4. Marketing. Without a publisher or literary agent to market, your book for you the responsibility lies with you. Take advantage of social media and book promo websites. Those are your best bets when it comes to free d.i.y. marketing.
  5. Reviews. Free or paid a good review can make a book. Offer your book to some willing reviewer for free or pay a professional like Kirkus. Its always up to you if you want you to use a review or not in your marketing. One thing to keep in mind fake reviews are easy to spot and will hurt your book.
  6. A Literary Agent isn’t Necessary. Having a Literary Agent can often defeat the purpose of self-publishing. You will lose 100% control and end up paying a percentage of every sale and yearly fees.
  7. Still Eligible for Awards. Even though you are self-published there are many yearly awards you can enter or receive a nomination for. Having a strong readership will help your book receive the recognition it deserves.
  8. Know your Reader. Understanding your reader’s wants and needs can influence your marketing drastically. Do some demographic research on the readers of your particular genre.
  9. Price is Important. Bookstores will not carry books they cannot make any money from. You must price your books right an allow for a 55% wholesale discount.
  10. Sell Yourself. This may sound like you are prostituting yourself but in a way you are! You have to sell yourself and your work to your readers. Offer giveaways, free book signings anything you can to draw attention.

Remember don’t give up. Not every book is a bestseller. Good luck and Happy Writing!!


Top 10 Character Building Tips.

The greatest characters of all time will vary depending on who you ask but I can guarantee they all have one thing in common. They are distinguishable from most others in the given story. There is always a feature or impediment that makes them unique.

These top 10 tips will help you develop your characters. Good luck and happy writing

  1. Clear Motivations that help develop the story. Characters want and need certain things and are highly motivated to achieve these goals. Having clear motivations help the reader to infer as to what the character is trying to accomplish.
  2. Unique Features or Traits. Could you pick your character out of a police line up? Well, you should be able to very easily by his or her description. Your description of him or her should bring to life vivid images of what the reader thinks they look like.
  3. Love em or Hate em. Develop your character with values or have him be the scum of the earth it’s up to you. Your readers should grow to develop strong feelings for them or be able to relate in one way or another.
  4. Use Secondary Characters as “Foils”  foil is a character who contrasts with another character —usually the protagonist— to highlight particular qualities of the other character.
  5. Create interesting dynamics between characters and environment.  Where does your character live, work or play? Do they love their home and miss it while away on a journey.
  6. Characters shouldn’t know every detail. Most of the time as a writer you need to separate yourself from your characters vision or train of thought.  They don’t need to know every detail of the past present and future of the story and most of the time shouldn’t.
  7. Use Contradictions. This makes characters more complex. For example, most grandmothers are loving and doting, but what if they are also manipulative and self-serving.
  8. Use characters’ names to convey subtle implications. Research baby names for example. That can give you a good idea of the meanings behind names and help you form their traits.
  9. Avoid Lazy Stereotypes. Stereotypes are at best are usually false and at worst offensive. While sometimes a writer may find humor in some. Authors must remain aware how others may view it.
  10.  Build With Dialog. Most dialog happens in scenes involving the plot and it should be used to advance the plot. But dialog can also be used to build characterization  “You should use what your subjects say – and how they say it – to show penchants for jargon, poor grammar and mispronunciation. Or meticulous pronunciation, even eloquent diction. Or pretension, sarcasm, humor, anger, fright, sadness, joy, impatience, frustration.” –http://niemanstoryboard.org/stories/14-tips-for-building-character/

Remember there are many tools a writer can use to help develop your characters. Some more difficult than others but all are very useful.

Source: https://www.nownovel.com/blog/novel-characters-15-tips/